Am I eligible to file for a domestic violence order for protection?
If you are 16 or older, you are eligible to file for a domestic violence order for protection if you or your minor child have been the victim of domestic violence (as defined by law) at the hands of:
- your spouse or former spouse;
- your domestic partner or former domestic partner (including same-sex couples);
- someone you have a child in common with - it doesn’t matter if you have ever lived together or been married;
- adult persons related to you by blood or marriage;
- adult persons residing with you now or who have resided with you in the past;
- someone you are having or had a dating relationship with - it doesn't matter if you ever lived together or not; (Note: the abuser must be at least 16) or
- someone who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with you, including step-parents and step-children and grandparents and grandchildren.*
If you are between the ages of 13 and 16, you can file against any of the family or household members listed above. However, to file against someone you have/had a dating relationship with, you must show that you have been the "victim of violence in a dating relationship" and the abuser is at least 16 years old.** If you do not meet these requirements, there may be another order that applies to your situation. Go to our Civil Anti-Harassment Orders page, Sexual Assault Protection Orders and Stalking Protection Orders page for more information.
If someone other than one of these people is hurting you, there are other petitions that you may be eligible to file for protection against violence. See What other types of orders may help me?
Note: If you are 16 or older, you can file for an order for protection on your own, without permission from an adult. If you are under 16, you will need a parent, guardian, guardian ad litem or "next friend" to file for you. A "next friend" is anyone over 18 years of age, chosen by the minor who is able to pursue the court case for the minor and state his/her wishes in court.***
* R.C.W. § 26.50.010(2)
** R.C.W. § 26.50.020(1)
*** R.C.W. § 26.50.020(8)